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Talk of the Bay: Southwest's nuts again are sweet treat

By Times Staff
Published April 11, 2007


After a two-year banishment, the honey-roasted peanut has quietly returned at Southwest Airlines. Peanuts aren't just snacks at the big discount carrier. They're symbols of Southwest's no-frills service and low prices, called "peanut fares" or more recently "byte-sized fares" to promote its Web site. But Southwest bagged the sweet nuts in 2005 when a supplier tried to charge a higher price than it did for the dry-roasted variety. But King Nut Cos. has installed equipment that reduced Southwest's costs by $250,000, the same as dry-roasted, reported Bloomberg Business News. So, honey-roasted are back on all flights this year. Southwest returns to alternating nut flavors, switching to dry-roasted for 2008 and honey-roasted in 2009.

Accounting charge could tarnish firm

A promising young company that once called downtown Tampa its headquarters is wrestling with a criminal grand jury investigation and a subpoena in the federal courts here. Liquidmetal Technologies, which has tried to carve a niche in sporting goods and medical devices made with advanced metal alloys, is under investigation for alleged accounting improprieties and for its relationship with a company called Growell Metal of Korea. The manufacturer went public in 2002 and, with its stock price struggling, relocated to California two years later. Liquidmetal said in an SEC filing that it got a federal subpoena last summer and is cooperating with authorities.

Navy re-ups deal with Raytheon

Defense contracts worth $48-million are coming to Raytheon's operations in Pinellas County. The award from the U.S. Navy is for work on the Cooperative Engagement Capability program, which has been developed by Raytheon's engineers over the past dozen years. The sensor system pulls radar data from every ship in a fleet and every plane overhead to create a comprehensive picture of the surrounding airspace. More than 45 CEC systems are in use by the Navy; the latest contract provides for purchase of seven additional systems as well as technical support. The Defense Department is expected to order about 200 units by 2014. Contract work is primarily performed at Raytheon's facilities in St. Petersburg, Largo, Dallas and McKinney, Texas.

[Last modified April 10, 2007, 23:07:03]

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